Intellectual property is the idea that intangible assets such as ideas and designs belong to the person creating them. There are many types of intellectual property including designs, patents, trademarks, domain names and copyrights. One common theme is that they are all related to doing business or have the potential to generate income in the future. Examples of intellectual property could be a special recipe, a brand name or a product design.
Protecting intellectual property is important as it encourages designers and companies to build new products and ideas, if these ideas are not protected for the creators to gain the benefits then less focus would be given on developing them.
In many businesses IP that is created using company materials or company time is owned by the company however individual contracts will have variations on this, see your line manager if you have questions on ownership of IP, alternatively https://www.austrade.gov.au/ has advice for dealing with IP questions.
You are responsible for ensuring that good measures are taken to not infringe on others intellectual property and penalties could include upto $117,000 and five years in jail for each offence with company fines of $585,000 per breach plus damages should a case be taken to court.
The best way to avoid infringing on others IP is to check both with you line manager and to search for existing IP in the market, look at existing copyright, always get permission to use original materials from the owner and explain clearly what you intend to use it for.
If you have generated your own IP always keep good records and register any IP appropriately via patents, copyrights or registrars.